Money is a part of our daily life, and something that we are fairly dependent on in this world. We work to make money, but we need money just to get to work every day! Sometimes, seeing the numbers in your bank account can be pretty upsetting, and living paycheck to paycheck is not a very healthy way of living.
While there’s no magic money tree you can wish on (and all those people spamming posts with “I made $99,999 in just ONE HOUR doing THIS JOB” are lying), there are plenty of small things you can do to pad your wallet a little bit more efficiently. In fact, it may be more about what you don’t do than what you do do. Here are some unconscious habits that you probably have that are costing you money every day.
1. Taking a cab every day
Sometimes, it seems as though a cab is the only quick and efficient way to get places for those who don’t have a car, but it’s time to sit back and decide if it’s really worth it. A cab starts with a P40 minimum, and probably averages you about P60 per ride. Multiply that by two ways, times 20 days a month and you’re looking at a whopping P2,400 spent on cab fare per month! And that’s assuming you never leave the house on weekends or go anywhere other than work. A jeepney, on the other hand, costs less than P10 per ride. Let’s say you need to take two jeepneys to get to work, that’s still less than half of what you’d be spending on a cab every day. It’s time to decide if the air-conditioned cab is worth the extra P1,200 every month.
2. Buying your daily lunches
“But there’s an eatery at work, that’s what it’s there for!” you argue. Okay, but is the food they are selling really worth the hit that buying lunch on a daily basis will take on your wallet? An extra cup of rice at Jollibee, for example is P25. You can buy a whole kilo of uncooked rice for less than that, so why waste your money on buying cooked rice every day when you can cook it at home and save a lot of money in the long run? And when it comes to actual meals, my husband and I were shocked to find out we could buy a raw T-bone steak for just 120php and cook it ourselves, where as one that’s only half the size will cost P600 at a restaurant! Makes you think, doesn’t it?
3. Always buying snacks
Just because a brand is better known doesn’t mean it tastes better, necessarily. Okay, I’ll admit that somethings really can’t be imitated, like I will never buy salt and vinegar potato chips from anyone but Lays. But for the most part, cheaper brands and imitation products taste pretty close. I’ve stopped buying the P50 rolls of Oreos when I can buy a pack of other biscuits for 1/4th of the price, and once it’s dunked in milk you’d never know the difference! Stop being snobby when it comes to snacks, and try some of the cheaper brands. You’ll save a ton of money, and probably won’t be able to tell that it’s not the name-brand product.
4. Being too scared to bargain
What are you doing buying things at full price, this is the Philippines, the land of bargaining! Okay, there are lots of places, like grocery stores, that have fixed prices. But there are plenty of options for you to negotiate as well. I felt ashamed a couple of weeks ago when my husband and I spent P90 on three potatoes, when my mother-in-law came home with three times as many for the same price. The amazing part? The prices were originally the same–P150 per kilo–but she bought hers from the wet market and was able to bargain, whereas we bought ours from the grocery store and were stuck. Stick your neck out a little, you’d be surprised how many people are willing to compromise on prices in exchange for a definite purchase.
5. Thinking short-term instead of long-term
The biggest unconscious mistake that a lot of people make when it comes to spending habits is thinking about the short-term instead of the long-term. When it comes to things you use regularly and will always need, it’s always better to think long-term. In these situations, it makes more sense to buy in bulk, rather than per piece. For example, I go through Chapsticks like crazy. So, while it may be cheaper to buy a single one for P40 pesos instead of a pack of six for P200, it actually makes more sense to go for the more expensive option. By thinking long-term, you end up saving money over time.
All these unconscious habits add up, so it’s time to become more aware of your money-losing habits. Start spending more wisely, and you will be surprised by how much you’ll be able to save up!
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Abby is from the USA and moved to the Philippines to be with her husband, David Christopher Hizon, who also happens to be her photographer for most of her writing endeavors. A gamer, a bookworm, an animal lover and a self-proclaimed foodie, she is passionate about everything that she does and hopes that will come across in her writing. Follow her at http://facebook.com/WritersInTandem & http://www.thewritersintandem.wordpress.com